We review the latest Arctic news, including further proof that there has been no global warming “pause,” worries that one of the Atlantic Ocean’s conveyor belts of water may shut down and the debate over whether climate change is making the polar vortex more erratic.
|Published on Jan. 6, 2017||Read time Approx. 2 minutes|
NOAA Vindicated for Challenging Global Warming ‘Pause’
Some skeptics of climate change say that global warming has paused for much of the 21st century. A new study finds this isn’t true, and reaffirms the work of climate scientists accused by some critics of cooking their books.
A team of scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called into doubt the idea of a global warming “pause” in a 2015 paper, and by readjusting some of their datasets, showed that the warming trend has continued in recent years. In the uproar that followed, Republicans accused the scientists of inappropriately fiddling with numbers.
But a study released this week found that NOAA’s scientists did the right thing by adjusting their data, the Washington Post reports. Among other things, the scientists put greater weight on water temperatures gauged by buoys, and less on ocean water measurements taken within the engine rooms of Arctic vessels – for, as the Post’s Chris Mooney drily notes, “ship engines are relatively warm places.”
Rising Temperatures Could Halt Conveyor Belt of Atlantic Water
Current climate change models may underestimate the impact of a warming world on a large oceanic conveyor belt that transports water from the Atlantic to the Arctic, a new study warns.
The study finds that if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were to double in the future, this ocean current could collapse, the Washington Post reports. While most climate models assume this current will remain stable, recent studies suggest it’s already weakening. This could have a big impact on how the ocean will change as the climate warms, and in turn trigger unanticipated changes to climate and weather patterns around the world.
Debate Swirls Over Polar Vortex
Cities along the Canada-U.S. border have once again felt deep-freeze temperatures at times this winter. Parts of the Arctic, meanwhile, have been relatively balmy. You can blame the polar vortex.
As we reported this week, some researchers worry this swirl of low-pressure air above the polar region is becoming increasingly wobbly as northern temperatures rise. This may lead to an increase of weirdly warm temperatures in the Arctic, and episodes of extreme cold farther south. Not all researchers, however, are convinced.